The largest solar farm in the state of Tennessee is now operational at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mid-South in Millington. The innovative project is the result of a unique public-private partnership that brought together the City of Millington, the U.S. Navy, Memphis, Light, Gas and Water (MLGW), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Silicon Ranch Corporation with a shared vision to support the local community and the naval base.
Nashville-based Silicon Ranch, the United States solar platform for Shell and one of America’s largest independent solar power producers, employed more than 300 people to construct the 53-MWac facility and will provide reliable, resilient power to the NSA Mid-South and TVA at cost-competitive rates for the next 20 years. As part of the partnership, Silicon Ranch signed a long-term lease with the U.S. Navy for 72 acres of base-owned land and purchased an adjacent 348 acres from the Millington Industrial Development Board (MIDB).
“This innovative energy project is the result of a truly collaborative effort, and Silicon Ranch thanks our partners at the U.S. Navy, TVA, MLGW, and the MIDB for making this investment possible,” said Matt Kisber, CEO and co-founder of Silicon Ranch. “We are especially honored to commission the largest solar facility in our home state of Tennessee and to support the mission of both NSA Mid-South and TVA.”
While the majority of the solar array is located on the adjacent private land, the naval installation received a brand new alternative electrical feed that will increase energy security and resilience at NSA Mid-South. This feature enables the installation’s more than 6,500 personnel to focus on their mission at the Navy’s Human Resources Center of Excellence. The project also illustrates the value of divesting Navy land that isn’t crucial to an installation’s mission and could be redeveloped through partnerships to benefit the Navy and the surrounding community.
“Partnerships fuel innovation, and we are proud of the work by community leaders, the U.S. Navy, and Silicon Ranch to expand solar technology in West Tennessee,” said Governor Bill Lee. “We look forward to a continued partnership as we strengthen rural Tennessee, modernize our infrastructure and prepare for the jobs of the future.”
The system is composed of more than 525,000 solar panels. The plant’s opening ceremony was attended by officials from the Navy and local government.
“This solar project represents progress toward our goal of becoming the Navy’s premier installation through maintaining excellence in our facilities and services,” said Cpt. Alonza “Al” Ross, commanding officer, NSA Mid-South. “It enhances our ability to manage our most important asset—our people—and helps us perform the critical function of supporting warfighter capabilities and readiness.”
News item from Silicon Ranch Corporation